I remember the last week of classes at college. I was graduation with a B.A. in Communications and a minor is Music and Pastoral Ministries. I was in my last communications class for all of the Seniors. Everyone was sharing where they were going after graduation. Many had already secured jobs or were moving on to get their Masters. When it came around to me, I was at a lost. It seemed I was the only one moving on to this next phase of life without any direction.
After my trip to Israel, I returned back home to Lilburn GA to live with my parents. After a few weeks, my parents approached me and asked if I had a job and what my plans were. I knew I needed to find something but just didn’t know where and what to do. That Wednesday evening, at church, I ran into a college friend who invited me to go to work for his company. The company was TTE, Total Technical Excellence. It was a carpentry shop and they were building huge sets for studios and shows. He said all I needed was a hammer and a tape measure. So, I went out and bought both.
I arrived the next morning with my brand new hammer and tape measure which was bright neon orange. Needless to say, I was immediately laughed at and had my first real world interaction as the “new” guy who obviously had never done anything like this before. I was paired up with one of the master carpenters, Johnny Johnson. He immediately put me on the chop saw where I had to cut a huge stack into hundreds of 2x4s. They had to be perfect to the 1/16th. Too long and I had to redo. A long tedious job, but finally completed it with success.
I had several days like this and I was coming home complaining and hating my job. The sawdust was messing with my voice and I was now having difficulty singing and doing worship music. I remember one night my Aunt Kathleen was over at the house and she asked me about the job. I started to complain and she immediately stopped me. She gave me a pretty good rebuke about being grateful and thankful for what I had. I convicted by her words and knew she was right. That evening, I went and laid on the couch in the dining room. I closed my eyes and began to pray.
“Father, I am sorry for my attitude. I have not been grateful or thankful for the job You gave me. I am wrong. Help me to enjoy where I am at right now. If this is where you want me, then I will awake each morning with joy to do my job. Forgive me for complaining.”
Immediately, I felt a release of this heavy load and I was no longer regretting going to work. I got up the next morning with joy in my heart, strengthened by a new purpose. I arrived at the shop and started my routine. I was getting a hang of it all. After lunch, the head carpenter yelled at me and said I had a phone call. That is weird, I thought, No one knows I work here. I went to the office and picked up the phone. It was my oldest sister, Brenda. She asked me how work was. I told her it was good. She said that her office needed help in their file room and would like to know if I would like the job. I immediately said yes. I hung up the phone and walked up to the supervisor. I told him that my sister had just offered me a job at her company. I told him that I would stay with TTE and complete any projects I needed to. He laughed and said I was free to go the next day. Obviously, I was not desperately needed there. I finished the day and remember walking out to my car. I was marveling at how quickly the Lord changed the situation once my heart got right. It seemed to be a test of how quickly would I submit my heart to the Lord.
The next day I started at Paradyme. My job was to clean, catalog, and sort piles of client files. I hit the floor running. I was good at this. It didn’t take me long. Within a month or so, that room was spic and span. Everyone around the office and at home was saying I was working too fast and working myself out of a job. But, I was just doing my best and being really efficient about it.
Meanwhile, at the front of the office, the VPs were hiring an assistant. The lady came in and I saw her packing up her stuff and leaving the same day. I remember sticking my head into Laura’s office, the VP of HR, and jokingly said, “What happen to the new girl?”
“Apparently, she didn’t know how to use Word or Excel.” she laughed.
I immediately replied, “Why didn’t you guys ask me? I know how to do all of that stuff. If you need someone, I am available.”
We exchanged some dialog back and forth and she said that she would talk with the VP of Marketing and they would let me know.
The next morning I arrived early. The VP of Marketing was in his office and heard me come in the front door.
“Hey, Robbie. Come on in here.”
“Yes, sir. What can I do for you?”
“Robbie, Laura told me about the conversation you both had yesterday. You’ve done great work back in the file room. If you would like to be the assistant, the job is yours.”
I immediately promoted and held that position for the next year or so. I began doing the marketing presentations and spreadsheets for all of the VPs. In time, I was putting together the PowerPoint presentations for all of the executives, including the CEO.
I found great favor with everyone in the office and enjoyed my time there. A few years later, Paradyme was closing many of the southeastern offices. I made it through nearly every cut until the very end. It was great experience working there and I was now once again at a crossroads in my career.